How to explain Ramadan to your child’s classmates at school

The best way to explain the holy month of Ramadan.

The best way to explain the holy month of Ramadan.

Many times we struggle to put into context the meaning of Ramadan and the purpose behind it. Be it when it comes to explaining to our children, or to those who do not observe the month, sometimes we just need to listen to their questions and share the responses with those who genuinely want to learn more.

At Taqwa Media, we believe creating opportunities for educating people at grassroots levels is very important and necessary, especially in the unfortunate circumstances that we live in where Islamophobia is very high. As an example of this, we sent a note to the teacher of one of the children on the team, and you can see their response to a session we held to explain the month of Ramadan.

How would you describe the experience?

It was very educational and appropriate for first graders. Each student enjoyed the lesson and walked away knowing what Ramadan was.

How was the learning experience? If positive, what were the positives aspects of the learning? What were areas you would consider for improvement?

It was a great lesson to tie into our Social Studies unit on communities and teaching how we are all alike and different.  It was great to have a parent visit the classroom to share their family traditions about Ramadhan.  This is a real world experience that is very meaningful for the children.

How effective was this approach?

The activities were excellent for first-grade students.  A shared reading, questions/comments, a fact sheet with colouring and providing each student with a date was developmentally appropriate.  The children were extremely engaged.

From these responses and our experiences, we have compiled a factsheet of easy ways to respond to questions regarding the holy month of Ramadhan.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Given the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar system, Ramadan begins on a different date each year. One reason why Ramadan is special is that the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad in this month.

Who celebrates Ramadan?

Muslims all over the world celebrate Ramadan.

What do Muslims do during Ramadan?

During this month, Muslims fast. This means they do not eat or drink anything from dawn to dusk. Young children, pregnant women, and those not healthy enough to fast are not required to observe the fast. In addition, Muslims are encouraged to read the Qur’an, self-reflect, spend time with family and be more charitable.

Why do Muslims fast during Ramadan?

There are many reasons Muslims fast during Ramadan, some of these include:

1. To gain God’s pleasure

2. To strengthen one’s faith

3. To develop self-control

4. To remind oneself that there are many people in the world less fortunate than themselves.

What do Muslims do at the end of Ramadan?

Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, which means “The celebration of breaking the fast” or “Eid” for short. On Eid, Muslims give a special charity to the poor, go to the mosque for prayers, exchange gifts and spend time with family and friends.

How can my family learn more about Ramadan?

There are many wonderful resources available to learn about Ramadan. Below are just a few suggestions, all of which are available at www.taqwamedia.com

– Ilyas & Duck and the Fantastic Festival of Eid Al-Fitr, by Omar Khawaja

– It’s Ramadan, Curious George, by Hena Khan

– Noor Kids First time Fasting, by Elizabeth Lymer

– Owl & Cat Ramadan Is…, by Emma Apple

– Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr, by Azra Jessa

– Ramadhan Reflections, compiled by Sh. Saleem Bhimji

– Rafiq and Friend’s The The Ramadan Date Palm, by Fatemeh Mashouf

– Zaky’s Ramadan (DVD)